Jake Gyllenhaal’s new children’s book features a sneaky nod to his 2010 movie flop Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time.
While speaking to Entertainment Weekly, the Donnie Darko star revealed that the illustrator for his newly-released children’s book, The Secret Society of Aunts and Uncles, referenced the video game adaptation in its design.
“That was Dan Santat. He snuck that in before printing, and I didn’t approve that,” Jake joked about the Easter egg. “I don’t know where that came from.”
The Secret Society of Aunts and Uncles, which was released on Tuesday, follows a 10-year-old aspiring dancer on an adventure with his uncle. On a page depicting the boy struggling to dance in front of a crowd, one audience member holds a playbill for a show titled The Persians.
“Dan likes to put in his bits of humour, even misspelling my name at the back and having to put a post-it, having two A’s at the end,” Jake continued. “But no, when I described that space, it was the space where there was no farther down to go than the depths of where Leo is in that moment in the book. So I guess that was Dan’s joke on me.”
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time was criticised for whitewashing upon its release, as Jake was cast over a performer of Iranian descent. In 2019, Jake admitted to Yahoo Entertainment that the project was a “slip up” and the role was ultimately not right for him.
“I think I learned a lot from that movie in that I spend a lot of time trying to be very thoughtful about the roles that I pick and why I’m picking them,” he said at the time. “And you’re bound to slip up and be like, ‘That wasn’t right for me,’ or ‘That didn’t fit perfectly.’ There have been a number of roles like that.”
– Cover Media